My Weekly Zen: No time but the present by PATRICIA SZPARA

The semester is reaching its midpoint.


Learning meditation by Jennie Williford

Yoga students often ask me about meditation — whether I teach it or where they can learn it.


The Mindful Instinct: How the Now Effect Works, Why it Matters and How to Get More of It by ELISHA GOLDSTEIN, PH.D.

Dr. Christopher Germer is friend and colleague of mine who grew up with a great fear of speaking.

Shutting it Down: A Week in the Life of the Collective Now by Brian Campbell

Imagine what would happen if we shut everything down, collectively, for one full week. If we unplugged our televisions and laptops and tablets and music players and headed out the door to count the stars or take a walk.   If we stopped paying attention to popular culture and politics and the absurd notion that fame and fortune are the measures of mankind, and dove deeper into our communities. What if we stopped trying to get ahead and simply lived? If we lifted up our heads and looked every single person in the eye. If we stopped thinking, craving, imitating, buying, counting, worrying, ruminating, analyzing, identifying, comparing, complaining, and competing and went off to introduce ourselves to strangers. If we left the newspapers unread and cooked a meal instead. If we put the work down at a reasonable hour, regardless of those artificial deadlines we set for ourselves, and headed home to sit with family and friends.   If we dropped the smart phone in an old shoe and put the shoe in a closet. If we did the same with the digital camera, which was designed to disregard the present moment in hopes that we remember it at a future date (when the moment no longer exists). If we played board games instead of browsed, talked instead of posted, savored instead of scurried? If those of us who are parents pulled our kids out of practice and put aside that glad bag full of homework and found a tree that both parent and child alike could climb. If we rediscovered our front porches and stoops. If we turned the mundane into the sublime.

What would happen if we sat still for a long time and just listened? If we went for a walk and instead of thinking about what to do next, or what we did that day, or what we did many moons ago, simply felt our feet moving against the earth, the wind running through us. Or heard the church bells and the train horns, the hum drum of the world outside of our windows.   What if we found ourselves a book on how to juggle or do magic or how to perfect the moonwalk?

What if we touched each other more? A pat on the back. A hand on the head. A hug for everyone we knew, or maybe even those we are meeting for the very first time. If we stopped moving so fast, stopped questioning where the time went, stopped being uncomfortable in silence? What if we watched the moonlight against the windowsill for what it is, rather than harken back to a memory of some other moonlight against some other windowsill?

For one full week, what if we stopped being “informed” and “connected” and “productive?” Stopped identifying ourselves with things, titles, degrees, wealth, and looks. Stopped living through celebrities, professional athletes, politicians, pop stars, wall street journal executives, and even our former selves, and live through all inhabitants.

What if we reversed that old axiom, that we don’t live life, but relive it? That instead of grasping at the something gone or worry about something yet to be, we grab the now with two hands and watch it, listen to it, touch it, smell it and taste it. As Jon Kabat-Zinn writes in Wherever You Go, You are There, our life is at least as miraculous as the sun and the moon and the stars. What if we treated it with the same kind of wonder?

For just one week, what if we saw the world as children again? Those shards of sunlight holding our undivided attention.  Those sugar cookies making us dance across the room.  Those thunderstorms felt from head to toe. What if we rediscovered what it meant to just be?

All at the same time.   A week in the life of the collective now.  A week without screens.

Imagine that.

Benedictine Torch in Malta

The Benedictine Order has chosen Malta to hold its annual event of peace, hope and fraternity, known as the Benedictine Torch, which every year since 1964, has been the main feature of a pilgrimage beginning from the city chosen to light the torch and ending in Monte Cassino (Rome, Italy) at the Shrine of St Benedict.

A couple of years ago I used to enjoy listending to Rev. Kusala’s podcasts and through him I came to know about St Benedict.

Benedict’s Dharma II – In Historic New Harmony, Indiana – A Five Day Retreat – April 29 to May 3, 2003 – A Buddhist/Christian Dialogue on the ‘Rule of Saint Benedict’… This 10 min film clip feature’s Rev. Kusala Bhikshu and Sister Mary Margaret Funk, OSB.

This clip is from, “Benedictine Journey: Listening with the ear of the heart”.

For more info on Benedict’s Dharma II the retreat, please visit the Web Site.


Meditation And Mindfulness by Ron Murdock

Meditation takes a lot of patience to do as everyone who tries it has any number of distractions to deal with.

Why Yoga Is So Misunderstood by Ed and Deb Shapiro

Yoga has come a long way from its roots in the east. As it has become more popular in the west teachers have added their own twist – both literally & figuratively. In the process of becoming so widespread, however, it often gets misunderstood by both teachers and practitioners.

What is Relinquishing?

Superb post on relinquishing taken from ‘new kid on the blog’ “Kate  (who is being deconstructed 🙂 … I love it!) ” ‘s blog:

A tale of what led Kate to no-mind, no-thing and no-one.

Jack La Lanne’s feats!

I learnt about Jack La Lanne from the book Brain Rules by John Medina : have a look at what he did at age 70!!



Fitness expert Jack LaLanne has died.  Reports say the 96-year-old LaLanne died at his home in California on Sunday.  LaLanne’s son, Dan Doyle, told the ”The New York Times,” that his father suffered “respiratory failure resulting from pneumonia.”

Jack LaLanne spent eight decades instructing others about fitness and its benefits for overall health.  As a teenager, LaLanne became inspired after hearing health and nutrition expert Paul C. Bragg speak at a local women’s club.  LaLanne began working out regularly and in 1936, he opened a combination gym, health food store and juice bar in Oakland, California.  In the early 1950s, LaLanne began appearing on San Francisco-area television, showing viewers how to exercise and eat well. ”The Jack LaLanne Show” went nationwide in 1959 and aired through the mid-1980s.

Jack LaLanne continued his own personal fitness routine, which included “two hours of workouts” involving weight lifting and swimming, well into his 90s.  He continued to demonstrate feats of strength, as well.  When he was 60 years old, LaLanne swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  While swimming, LaLanne was “handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat.”  LaLanne’s agent, Rick Hersh, tells the Associated Press LaLanne “ate healthy and exercised every day of his life up until the end.”

Jack LaLanne is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Elaine LaLanne, and three children: two sons and a daughter.  Elaine LaLanne issued a written statement, saying: “I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for.”

In 2009, while celebrating his 95th birthday, LaLanne joked on CBS’ ”The Early Show” about his advancing years, saying, “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.”

Free Awareness – Stop Trying To Create A State

“When we relax that tendency, that seeking, what’s noticing the seeking? whether you are experiencing silence or depression it doesn’t matter to awareness, peace is right there, as the depression, it’s amazing, you can wake up totally depressed, totally anxious, but if you relax the need to change that, then there’s a peace that is self-evident, because it is the peace that is noticing the depression, and we believe, because it is just a belief, that the depression is an experience, in of itself that we are having, it’s our experience, we claim every experience …. awareness doesn’t care”